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Messi/Ronaldo/Neymar/Mbappe Watch

The 10 Highest-Paid Footballers In 2005

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo earn upwards of $100 million (R1.6 billion) a year today, but what did the world's highest-paid players list look like in 2005 when David Beckham and Ronaldinho were among football's elite?

Click through the gallery above to see who the world's best-paid footballers were in 2005, according to Forbes!

The American business magazine recently updated its annual rich list of football's highest-paid players per season, with Messi leapfrogging rival Ronaldo to become the best-paid player in the sport.

Forbes reported that the 33-year-old FC Barcelona will earn $126 million (R2.1 billion) in the 2020/21 season, while his counterpart, Juventus' Ronaldo, will earn $117 million (R1.95 billion) over the course of the campaign.

Before these two footballing giants dominated the beautiful game in terms of goals, trophies and money, however, were the likes of Ronaldo Nazario and Zinedine Zidane, who were among football's best-paid players 15 years ago.

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In 2005, Zidane earned about $20 million (R327 million) a year, which placed him second among the best-paid footballers in the world at the time. The Frenchman was accompanied in the top 10 by four of his Real Madrid teammates, including Beckham, who was the world's highest-paid player.

You can see who else was among the 10 highest-earning footballers in 2005 in the gallery above!

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